Finally made it to the Leith Walk section of town on my last day of my recent visit and it turned out to be a case of the best was saved for last. This shop is an absolute gem in a diamond of a city and I can't recommend it strongly enough for both literary and musical pursuits.
Skimming the shelves it's immediately apparent that the owner values quality over quantity, and I found his vinyl rating system to be both fair and accurate. I spent the better part of an hour rifling through the LPs and probably could've doubled my Catch if I had thought to take a cab back to the hotel instead of the bus because the shop's prices are more than reasonable.
I also have to hand it to the owner for his inventive arrangement and organization of the books on shelves and vinyl in pull-out drawers below. I mean, there's nothing worse than walking into a shop where the merch is a randomly scattered heap all over the floors and counters that gives you feeling that you've walked into house of cards.
Next time, I'm stopping by on the first day in town.
It was the boxes of records we spotted at the door that prompted my brother and I to cross the road and have a look in this brilliant literature and music emporium. It was also pretty unusual for us to be walking down Leith Walk in the first place, with it not really being in our normal neck of the woods, but the combination of needing to walk off a huge lunch, plus general curiosity about what Leith Walk retail was up to these days, made us go for the stroll rather than the lazy bus option.
Elvis Shakespeare is my favourite kind of specialist dealer for two reasons. The first being, it sells books. I've got a thing about picking up random, older editions of books that are unusual and hard to find, because I love the different designs you can find on the covers, and it's just a bit more interesting than buying a book brand new. The second reason I admire this shop is for its carefully collated A-Z organisation. The records are catalogued alphabetically, with the CDs and books also organised efficiently by category. I realise that there's a certain charm to wandering into other types of dealers and unearthing a gem of an item when everything's just piled up in little mishmash heaps, but I like my shopping somewhere in-between, still with plenty of character, but with some sort of formula to it.
It's clear that the bloke that owns this shop has reams of musical knowledge, and is passionate about telling people about it, which is just ideal, specialism plus someone that actually cares about what they're selling can't be beaten.
My brother left with a rare Ska CD, and I found the first book I ever reviewed and had since lost, so just had to buy a copy. An excellent afternoon's work.
I salute whoever first realised that a shop like Elvis Shakespeare would work. By combining two of my loves - old music and old literature, they have inadvertantly created one of my favourate shops.
Its not big, its not nessicarly cheap (rarer = more expensive) and its not full of the latest pop but thats what makes this place so special. There is really a lot of stuff here - books, dvd's, cd's, vynils - you name it, they have it and I'm pretty sure you will find something that will make you love this place first time you come here. Whats more, they know thier stuff - its almost scary, but ask a question (the more obscure the better) and you will get an answer!
Elvis Shakespeare is exactly the kind of shop I expect to find Nick Cave or Shane McGowan looking for inspiration.
Run by a charismatic Scot, it's a cultural treasure chest that sells a fab range of secondhand records, CDs, DVDs and books. The former includes boxes of everything from soul, funk, reggae, ska and punk torock, pop and country whilst the latter includes fiction, poetry, drama and graphic novels. Endearingly, I found quite a few Annie Proulx, Raymond Carver and Paul Auster books sandwiched between recent best-sellers and cult crime noir - all for the bargain price of around £2.50 - £3.50.
To top it off, there was a mint copy of Dusty in Memphis on vinyl last time I visited. Suffice to say, I snapped it up.
It's not particularly a cryptic shop name. It sells both music and literature.
We were looking for a rather obscure 80's song on vinyl and I knew it was on a couple of compilations but that's just because I'd done hours of research on the internet but to no avail of finding somewhere to buying it.
The GENIUS behind the counter came up to me after a bit of looking around the shop and asked if I needed any help, to which I said "oh, no thanks, I'm just looking for (insert song name here)" he turned to me and without even digging far into his brain, reeled off a list of where I could find him. The human brain is more powerful that the internet but until coming in here, I'd totally forgot.
Adding to the list of enthused music fanatics, I can report that Elvis Shakespeare is a fountain of all music and book resources!
With an amazing, impressively large catalogue of books, music, DVD's and fanzies all for low prices, what is even more impressive is that the empassioned owner seems to know everything...about everything. He is like a walking encylopedia and has an incredible capacity to store every pop culture reference since the 50s in his brain. He could reel off music from the top of his head like it was the most natural thing in the world.
Absolutely great for a raid and with some unusual old treasures (including a noteworthy collection of old fanzines) this is what all music stores should be like! Pivotal amongst music nuts in Edinburgh and somewhere I always visit when I'm through, I love this place.
Apart from the general awesomeness of the name, Elvis Shakesphere is a shop with a completely unique USP; literature and music combined!
The selection of books and music are both outstanding and above and beyond what you would expect to find in this wee place at first glance. Specialising in alternative music like punk rock, this place is usually buzzing with a variety of different folks. Like others have said, the owner knows his business, just ask and he'll get on it for you.
I picked up a Clash album for my Dad, which I got for a few quid so I was happy. Fantastic place which is just so different for the area.
A good little book/record shop in Leith to have a look around. It shouldn't be too difficult to something you might like in here, there is a lot in the shop. You can choose books from loads of genres, from educational/travel etc to your classics. There will be something for everyone.
All in all, a good place to pick up some cheap books.
Elvis Shakepeare is a great little shop on Leith Walk.
They sell vinyl records, cds, vhs tapes, DVDs, comics and every type of book you could imagine.
It's the type of place you could spend an hour or so just happily browsing, but you will end up buying something.
The staff are vey friendly and if you are looking for something specific, will help you try to find whatever you are looking for.
I first discovered this last year by mistake. I was texting while walking and tripped over the box of Vinyl out on the street ( Not the first time that Black Sabbath have floored me). I was about to get all mad until I realised what it was.
When i went inside I easily spent an hour in here, painstakingly sifting through every record, cd and DVD. I got Night of the Living Dead for a quid and 2001 for a fiver and had a great chat with the guy behind the counter.
Go here first before going to HMV, you'll probably find what you need.
Elvis Shakespeare has a great name. Full stop. The juxtaposition of the two fully encapsulates this gem of a bookstore on Leith walk. As befits the UNESCO city of Literature, Edinburgh is awash in bookstores, in a number of different settings, corporate, charity shops, and in this case, independent. One afternoon, last week, I strolled in for the first time and perused the literature while my music geek husband checked out the tunes. The literature is well picked- and again- completely epitomized the character of the shop name: I was checking out biographies and Rupert Everett's recent bibliographic jaunt sat beside Gertrude Stein's 'The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas'. They each sat at 3 quid a pop which is indicative of the reasonableness of the shop: a classic and a recent pop culture best-seller could fetch at least a fiver each. My husband thoroughly approved the music section- gave it two thumbs up- which was a feat as he is rarely satisfied. I digress. As I was looking at the kitsch wall of records: one featuring the Smurfs, the proprieter struck up a conversation with us- we discussed the beauty of kitsch, the prevalence of youtube and the scarcity of cheap (yet good) record players in the city. We introduced ourselves properly and he invited us to an in-store show he was holding with a singer/songwriter he highly commended. We walked away, one biography in hand, 3 quid spent feeling remarkably satisifed. This is because many nebbish record stores we have frequented have had staff that have had a seemingly holier-than-thou attitude to us mere plebs. High Fidelity- being the obvious literary example I can cite- which rings just a little bit true to us. How lovely to have a) a bookstore stocked with good books b) an independent music store selling good music c) a neighbourhood community invite to an event and d) a lovely owner who was not hesitant to be warm and inviting. Will return. Will spend what little money I have. Will be worth it.
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